When I was younger I always wanted a Barbie jeep power wheels. I didn’t even like Barbie, but it seemed like a perfect fit for me to drive around our backyard and neighborhood. My little cousin had the convertible car that I would get to play on occastionally when we would go over to their house, but I was older and bigger, and so I needed a Barbie Jeep Power Wheel. Never got that jeep.
I got a little older and I dreamed of my first car. I didn’t even want one of those ‘fancy mustangs’ all my friends were getting. I told my parents I would be totally content with a Chevrolet Cavalier. How humble of me right? I was fully convinced I would wake up on my 16th birthday look our the window and there would be my blue cavalier with a big bow on top. (This is how it went down int he movies so my life had to mimic those characters right?) Woke Up. No.Chevy.Cavalier! Instead months later, a 1990 Toyota Camry that I would deck out in cow print seat covers and call Bessy.
I reached young adulthood and the symbol to covet was the ‘C.’ It was not just any ‘c’ it was lots of ‘C’s’ all over your purse. I had never really cared about purses before, but much like my childhood dream of the Barbie Jeep I now wanted the Coach purse. There was something about a Coach purse that stood for class, position, and this high level of fashion. Girls in my student ministry had them, women at work had them, I was clearly left out of the cool club because I did not have the ‘C’ on my purse. It came Christmas time and Josh sweetly got me a small Coach purse. It was a small simple purse that he got on sale, but it wasn’t what I had expected in a Coach purse and so he let me exchange. As much as I hate to type this next line I need to to further my point, I exchanged it for a purse that had C’s all over it and a nice scarf that tied around it….all for a whopping 400.00. Yes thats right. 400.00 for a purse! For a purse that would hold pieces of paper, chewed up gum, and snotty tissues.
I carried that purse on my shoulder with such pride. I was Miss Fashionista! For like a day. Maybe two. You see, during the entire time of buying it, sticking all my junk in it, and then wearing it around as if it gave me some kind of value, deep down I knew that it was incredibly wrong. Something didn’t jive. Something wasn’t right. I should have been happy, but instead of happiness I literally felt sick.
God let me make a selfish decision and used it for an opportunity for the Spirit to move, convict, and wreck my heart for what I was seeking more than Him. That C had become an idol in my life. It was something that I thought would attribute value, status, even a different degree of friendships, but at what cost? It was a moment where God broke me of my greed. Today I think of how many meals that money could have been used for our son and others he knows as they sit hungry in the orphanage in Africa. Or to provide dozens of pairs of shoes for the homeless. Or Bibles translated into different languages so that people all over the world could read the name and sweet story of Jesus. This seems like a really Sunday school answer, but I wonder if we actually did some of our so called ‘Sunday school answers’ instead of just knowing them, how differently and more like Jesus we would be.
I was so overcome with disgust from my sin of greed and idolatry that I posted my coveted Coach purse on craiglist three weeks after purchasing it for half the price of what I bought it for. I wanted it gone, out of my life. But the funny thing is, the sin of greed and idolatry still creep into my life even years after being so distraught and broken over the same exact sin. Now it just fleshes out in different ways through my children’s toys, my obsession with clothes, the next dream car of convenience. It is a continual battle of choosing to be content and letting the God who purchased my soul with His blood define and give me worth.
I got a fancy expensive purse to hold all my junk, and it was a mirror of what I was doing with my spiritual life. My Coach Purse had to die. I had to die. I still have to die to the idea that things here on earth are going to make me happy. That just because everyone else has it doesn’t justify the desire for it. That symbols are priceless and Jesus is everything.
For the reader that has a coach purse please hear me that I am not throwing judgement in anyway. Maybe you got a great deal, maybe you paid full price but your checkbook still shows sacrifice for the Kingdom, or maybe you have one of those knock off purses where you risked your life in the back room of a shady store in China. Who knows. Who cares!
From a very young age we start the cycle of hearing, listening, and conceding to the idea that we “need” more and are entitled to have them. From Barbie Jeeps to Diamond Rings to expensive homes to husbands with money and muscles. As women we can get so wrapped up in the image of success, the coveting of things, the worship of earthly symbols. I’m asking you to remind me that I need to die,and I’ll remind you that you need to too.
There are greater causes, bigger missions, deeper truths to pursue and at the end of the day I hope we can lay our heads down and say, “Jesus.Is.Everything!”